2009-11-11 10:40 by Chaitra Shetty
Indiagames’ Lead Game Designer Poornima Iyer, started her talk on the most important piece of documentation in the complete game development process, the Game Design Document (GDD) by establishing the fact that GDD is a draft from which a game is to be built. It covers all necessary details to build a game and most importantly it’s not a market pitch. Also the GDD is meant for the production team who will develop the game and not for gamers.
She presented a small video highlighting the awareness about the GDD, or rather the lack of it, amongst the people in the industry.
Poornima went on to say that the game design document is hardly read completely by anybody, especially when it comes to mobile games as the development cycle is very short. So why bother making one? She explains, “It’s a one stop destination for everything related to the game. It is one document you will keep referring to until the game is completely developed. Also the approvals depend on it because while reviewing the game, the output will be judged by the requirements that had been mentioned in the document.”
She says that it is better to make separate and easily understandable documents so as to give one’s team something that they can easily refer to. “Add more visuals as people don’t like too much text, avoid numbers and specific key mappings scattered all over the document, use hyperlinks instead of copy pasting, have good formatting and put the excessive text in the reference section. Also a game designer needs to be very organized as the person will be handling multiple disciplines. It is a good habit to have checklist so that you don’t miss out on anything.”
While starting to write a game design document one should give thought to the idea behind the game. Think what's the game about? Analyze if the game works with reference to other similar games if any. The designer has to have a base plan always ready and has to know priorities in terms of what are the things that have to be there in the game compulsorily.
“When you are working on faster game development cycles, where you don’t have time for multiple features the GDD designer should be flexible to modify the design. The designer also has to go on fine tuning the document as the development proceeds. Another aspect to deal with is by working on more than one game at a time. However one cannot get into time slicing as it can kill creative ideas and rhythm,” she adds.
Poornima says that one has to be confident with one’s presentation and that an idea being shot down doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad idea. It might be due to many other reasons like it doesn’t match the production cost or the market doesn’t exist or the idea itself hasn’t been presented well.
“It is really important to understand your team, so co-ordinate with them and organize them better. And most importantly one should never forget to enjoy because if you don’t, it reflects in your work. Game design is a very misunderstood field especially here and it’s not treated as it should be. But if it is taken in the right way this field can take you places,” she concluded.